Blog

Bella Coola 1: The Hill

Anyone who has been to Bella Coola mentions The Hill. Their eyebrows go up, their eyes widen, and they shudder. Some shudder because they have an appetite for things like bungy jumping and sky diving. Others shudder because they consider themselves lucky to have survived the drive. I happen to be the kind of person who loves roller coasters. I cheer for turbulence on planes, swells at sea, and loud thunder storms. But I am cautious at the wheel, and am already feeling fatigued…

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Nisga’a

The Nisga'a highway has been improved since I was last here, in 2000; I miss the old narrow road that kissed the edge of Lava Lake, only marginally higher than the water. Now there are two lanes, paved, well above the waterline. This is the land of the Lava Beds. In...

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Prince Rupert

Leaving Haida Gwaii In the ferry line-up waiting to leave Haida Gwaii, I chat with the women ahead of me. I admire their red Subaru Forester, and before long we are talking about where we're all going and what we're doing. I’m on a tour of BC and Alberta doing shows...

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Haida Gwaii 4: The Yakoun River, The Pub, A Land of Giants

  There is a lot one can do on Haida Gwaii, but I am so tired of driving and so starved for quiet time outdoors that I go in search of hikes nearby. The Golden Spruce Trail is a short drive down the logging road from town. It is an easy walk through beautiful...

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Haida Gwaii 3: Workdays and Fatigue

The next two days consist largely of shows and drives. I do two presentations at secondary schools, and two at elementary. I don’t often do high school shows and I enjoy this different program. I talk about string figure traditions around the world, about different...

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Haida Gwaii 2: Sandspit and a Storm

I feel like I’ve gone to the edge of the world. We are a 9-hour ferry ride from the northern coastal town of Prince Rupert, across the shallow and storm-prone Hecate Strait. When we docked at 7:00 this morning, I was still packing up my bedroll in the passenger lounge...

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Haida Gwaii 1: Crossing

The ferry to Haida Gwaii sails at 10 PM, but cars have to be in line at 8. I watch the goings-on through the wet windshield. Foot passengers are dropped off at the front of the terminal. Some unload boxes of supplies; others have groceries or sports bags or backpacks or nothing but a purse and a hoody slung over their shoulders. Many carry a pillow or sleeping bag for an overnight in the passenger lounge.

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Dolores on Haida Gwaii

At a community dinner on Haida Gwaii, I sit across from Dolores. She grew up in this village, Skidegate, the youngest in a blended family of 17 children. By the time she came along, her father was weary of trying to manage teenagers. “I’m going to trust you not to smoke or drink. That’s all I can do is trust you,”

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On Tour in Alberta

    My brief stint in Alberta is going fast. This morning, in a town west of Edmonton, I did a show for about 400 kids, which went fine except that a little tiny thingie is missing from my wireless mic. It's supposed to hold a few of the headset bits together. I...

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Joan: A Chance Encounter and Black Forest Cake

I met Joan today in Valemount BC when I stopped at the Swiss Bakery. I was driving from the Sunshine Coast, north of Vancouver, to a town north of Edmonton. I'd stopped for the night in Clearwater, BC and now, mid-day on the second day of driving, I'm ready for a...

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Conversation at the Waterslide

Today between shows (Sunshine Coast, north of Vancouver) I had time for a quick swim at the Aquatic Centre. The waterslide was open. I trotted over and found myself in line with a cluster of kids who stared long and hard at the only adult in their midst. Finally: "Did...

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